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The earthquake destroyed the Cathedral of Iskenderun in Türkiye (Caritas Turkey)

Caritas agencies are responding to a powerful and deadly earthquake in southeast Türkiye and Syria, where thousands of lives have been lost and the death toll increases by the hour. 

It is expected that the death toll will increase up to eightfold in the coming days and weeks as more victims are found in the rubble.

Entire buildings have collapsed on both sides of the border, leaving thousands more injured, trapped or homeless in the bitter winter cold and freezing rain. 

“This earthquake will have a long-term impact on people’s lives. People have lost their lives, their homes, and their livelihoods. The impact will last not for days or even months, but for years,” said Hombeline Duliere, the Syria crisis response manager for CAFOD (the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development in England and Wales).

In Türkiye’s south, poor internet connectivity and damaged roads have hindered efforts to assess the damage and respond in the worst-hit areas. The epicentre of the quake, Gaziantep, is also home to half a million Syrian refugees. 

Syria is nearly at breaking point after 12 years of war, extreme poverty and a recent cholera outbreak. Vital infrastructure like hospitals, schools, utilities and water and sanitation systems have been damaged or reduced to rubble. The economy is in tatters, with more than 90 per cent of the population living in poverty. 

“People already had limited access to water and food. Millions of people have been displaced inside Syria. Some of them have lost everything already – and they have few options left. We must do all we can to support,” said Sally Thomas, Caritas Australia’s humanitarian emergencies lead for the Middle East.

So far, all Caritas Türkiye staff have been reported as safe, however, Caritas Türkiye offices in Anatolia have collapsed and are now inaccessible. 



 Caritas agencies respond to catastrophic earthquake in Turkey and war-torn  Syria (Caritas Australia)


Prayer appeal for earthquake victims  (ACN)

VIDEO: Massive aftershocks deepen Türkiye, Syria misery (ABC News)